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Police phone thief punishment: write anonymous apology to Argus
Two women who stole a police-owned phone from a packed nightclub have written personally to Argus readers to express their remorse at their “stupid mistake”.
Sussex Police arrested the women aged 23 and 24 after they picked up the bait phone from Oceana in Brighton.
The phone was planted there as part of the force’s Operation Tea Leaf, highlighting the high number of thefts from bars, clubs and restaurants in the city.
In September 196 phones were taken from the city centre. The women, who have not been named, were arrested on suspicion of theft following the August offence.
But having considered the circumstances police said rather than face the courts, the pair could write a letter which would be published in The Argus.
The letter is written directly by the women. It says: “We were in Oceana with a group of friends having a good night.
“We saw a mobile phone on the table and stupidly picked it up and put it in our bag.
“Within minutes we were easily caught by plain-clothed police officers, taken out the back, handcuffed and searched where the police found the phone we put in our bag.
“It all happened so quickly and it was a stupid mistake. We never should have done it as it could have ruined our lives and jeopardised any future jobs for us.
“We are truly sorry for wasting police time and we will never do anything like this again.”
Inspector Gareth Davies said: “This is not going soft on offenders and Operation Tea Leaf in particular has resulted in many arrests and prosecutions.
“In all busy public places, particularly a cosmopolitan place like Brighton and Hove, there are often problems with thefts from the person.
"The majority of these take place in bars and clubs, and also in restaurants and hotels. More than half of the thefts are of mobile phones.”